Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cloud # 9

With a crowd of over 25,000 swaying to the music, Mumbai was at its energetic and spirited best as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams belted out hits after hits at his rocking concert here Saturday night, inviting unconditional adulation from the audience.

How does Bryan Adams do it? For two and a half hours on Saturday night, he rocked an ecstatic crowd of 20,000 at Bandra-Kurla Complex, pelting them with one hit after another from his massive back catalogue of rock anthems. Bryan is here to perform at the Micromax Bryan Adams Live in Concert India Tour. It started Friday at Pune, and after rocking Mumbai, the show is now scheduled for Bangalore (Sunday), New Delhi (Tuesday) and Hyderabad (Wednesday).

After booking tickets online, it was a long anxious wait to finally get the tickets in my hand – the delivery just did not come and I was starting to get worried. I finally had to go to the courier office a couple of days back to pick it up. 
The tickets said that the gates opened at 5 pm – quick math: low end tickets, Bryan Adams – reach at least 2 hours before the gate opened – check. So there we were, my best friend and I waiting in the dusty entrance to the MMRDA grounds, baking in the hot sun at 3 pm. 

Finally the line snaked in at 5 pm and we made a dash for it. We got the best view right at the front of the area, the best that our two grand tickets could offer. (But whoever set up the venue needs a kick on their behind – which moron sets up the speakers and other stands in the middle of the venue to block the view of the audience!?! - see the photos below)

Then another wait that was insufferable because of the incompetent MCs (the lady MC should never get this job again after stumbling on the sponsors’ names multiple time!) and a bloody awful Shimak Dhavar show. The DJ – Akbar Sami was good for a while playing classic rock – but it was Bryan that we wanted to see. The crowd was swelling all this while and along with it swelled the anticipation, the excitement and the irritation against these fillers. 

Four and a half hours later, the man took the stage. The audience broke into a frenzy from the word go, when Bryan Adams kickstarted the concert. Just two songs later, Adams said: "Good evening everybody. My name is Bryan. Here I am”. He took off his song Here I Am from that point, and the excitement level of the crowd soared with every strum of his guitar thereafter.

Touring 120 days a year for decade now, it’s hard to imagine how many times he’s belted out Summer of ’69. But again he made it sound fresh, like he was having the time of his life. They went berserk as Adams sang Summer of 69 and asked the audience to sing in between. But even a breather between two songs by Adams sent the crowd chanting ‘Bryan, Bryan, Bryan!’

The stage was huge, with two massive screens adorning each of its side and one behind him, for the comfort of those who couldn’t catch a meaty glimpse of the 51-year-old, who rocked as if he truly believes in "18 till I die!"

In the absence of Mel B to accompany him with When you’re gone, he picked out an audience member (Gauri) at random to join him on stage. She sang and danced with him—it felt like we’d stumbled in on someone else’s fantasy. Then perhaps not with quite the romance of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Adams asked the crowd to light up Everything I do with mobile phones, Blackberrys and iPhones. 


Adams dedicated Died and gone to heaven to another special fan. He said: “Tonight’s performance is our fifth time in this city. The first night I played here, someone managed to get on stage, grabbed the mic and shouted, ‘Thought I’d died and gone to heaven!’, then jumped into the crowd. I’d like to dedicate the song to this gentleman.”

At times stealing the show with his awesome solos was guitarist Keith Scott, with, as Adams shouted, “the fastest fingers you’ve ever seen in your life!”

Bryan Adams performance was certainly the place to be on Saturday night.And not just the aam janta,but even Bollywood stars couldnt stop grooving as he belted out a string of hit numbers. For once, Bollywood stars remained off the spotlight even as many of them enjoyed themselves being mere spectators to the wonder of Bryan Adams! Actors who were spotted at the gig included Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Akshaye Khanna, Suneil Shetty, R.Madhavan, Arshad Warsi with his wife Maria Goretti and Deepika Padukone with her rumoured beau Siddharth Mallya. Mrs. Tendulkar was also there as the Man himself geared himself for the Cup of Joy.

Like a well-oiled machine, he and his band powered through hits like Heaven, Run to you and The only thing that looks good on me (is you). In all he sang around 20 songs, your favourite songs that we have grown up with and know all the words to, in 150 unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime minutes including Let’s make a night to remember, Please forgive me, How do ya feel tonight - but the audience didn’t seem to have had enough of him. The encore after the Band had taken its last bow was the most special part of the evening – it was just Bryan on stage with his guitar and a mouth organ and doled out the most soulful version of All for one that I’ve heard.

While other rock stars reinvent themselves again and again, get distracted by exotic models or have misguided dalliances with country music, Bryan Adams remains reassuringly the same. Black shirt, dark jeans, slicked-back quiff that starts to creep on to his face like a tarantula when his guitar solos get going, you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference between this and his gigs years ago in Mumbai. Bryan himself signed off saying: 'It's fantastic tonight - good night Mumbai! Take care!' The audience left the venue more than satisfied. This classic is forever.

The humility of the man was what endears him to his fans across the world. The theme of the show for Bryan and his band was to give the audience what they wanted – a great time and an unforgettable night. They seemed to revel in being able to do so. I wish Bryan and his band all the very best in life. You guys will remain legends long after you’re gone. All I can say is, I was privileged to have heard you play…

PS: He was to be honored with this 15 feet tall guitar with messages and signature of his fans.

And I read today that Imtiaz Ali has seized the moment,making arrangements with Sunil Shetty to capture the reality of Bryan Adam's concert for his film, Rockstar starring Ranbir Kapoor. Sunil Shettys mammoth efforts to bring the Canadian rockstar to tour India,has been a blessing in disguise for director,Imtiaz Ali. The director wasted no time in approaching Shetty for permission to shoot scenes for his film,Rockstar,at Adams Concert.The film unit shot for the entire show and many crowd sequences will be used,in Rockstar for Ranbir's scenes,in which he is performing at a concert.The film scenes will be edited with those of the concert,so that the films sequences look as authentic as they need to be. Now I am hoping the movie will be half as good as the concert!